Essential car equipment (tire equipment edition) / forked up
Going to deviate a little from normal Pocketables Android / Phone / Programming to relate what happened to me yesterday and what I think you should have in your car.
My wife’s car was in the shop. Headlight was out and, seriously, just look up what it takes to change a Subaru Outback driver’s side headlight. The TL;DR version involves removing the battery, driver’s side tire, mud guards, going through the wheel well and changing it.
I picked the car up, grabbed my kids, and hit a fork in the road.
No, a literal fork.
So, I had about 16 paragraphs explaining what happened next that got wiped out when 1) WordPress 5.1 didn’t save a draft that was retrievable, 2) Chrome crashed on uploading the above image. As such, since I have limited time here’s a highlight of what happened.
- pulled fork out of tire using borrowed pliers
- inflated tire using a jump starter/tire inflator that almost died near the end.
- Drove 3 blocks and discovered tire was completely flat (more than just a couple of fork prongs)
- Discovered wife’s spare tire was flat (honestly had not occurred to me to check it in the last year)
- Discovered wife’s car’s jack and handle were just about the worst.
- Inflate spare tire on a nearly-dead jump starter
- Get to tire shop and confirm it was the entire fork width went through so no patching
Total delay: about 36 minutes, which included removing what amounted to a yard sale worth of stuff from the wife’s trunk.
These are suggestions based on what’s worked for me with a lifetime of dealing on my own with my, and my friend’s, roadside problems (and helping people at work.) They’re tagged links meaning if you don’t want Paul to make that fat 6% referral commission just go and search these things out yourself.
Also, pretty sure if you click any of the below and then purchase anything else on Amazon I’m getting commission so don’t click a link if you hate us with a passion.
Tire Inflator / Jump Starter
You don’t have to have a jump starter attached if you’re running on limited space, but I generally find that a tire inflator/jump starter combo seems to be what’s needed. They can be had for as low as $44. Just pick what amps your car needs and aim near that.
If you’re wanting something smaller that might fit in the spare tire area you can just grab a tire inflator for as little as $7.
And if you’re going that route you might also want to check out a jump starter. We’ve reviewed several. My suggestion is go for the larger thing though. They’re cheap, work, and most will power your phone in the event of an emergency.
If you’re a member of Sam’s or Costco, they generally have some very good ones there.
A patch kit, if you’ve got the time, can save you and your friends a lot of hassle.
Under normal circumstances I’d say go and grab a patch kit anywhere for about $10, but here’s one on Amazon that includes gloves, pliers a lot of patches, razor, etc. Piecing it together is cheaper.
If the car doesn’t have a jack, they’re about $15. If you deal with a lot of cars or want to do any work, you can get the nice oil pressurized ones that can life multiple tons. Disadvantages to those are they’re large. I have the larger type in my car because people call me before AAA usually.
Alternately, wait for the tow truck or a friend.
I don’t think too many people work on the narrow margins of time I have, so a AAA membership, or your insurance, can provide roadside assistance although depending on when the times can be as little as 20 minutes to as much as a couple of hours.
You’ll notice something missing above
I’ve been using jump starters for roughly 15 years at this point. In that time, with about 40 instances I can recall, I’ve never had a situation that required jumper cables (due to jumper batteries just working).
I’ve also never had a situation where fix-a-flat was a fix – if you can’t patch it, you might need FixAFlat, but outlook is very bad. Also make sure to let whoever’s working on your tire know there’s freaking fix a flat in it as it’s terrible for mechanics.
Am I missing anything?